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Late Gallas goal saves Chelsea

Published: Tuesday 16 September 2003, 23.49CET
AC Sparta Praha 0-1 Chelsea FC William Gallas scores an 85th-minute winner to give the visitors victory.

Match statistics

Sparta PrahaChelsea

Goals scored0
1
Attempts on target3
 
5
Attempts off target7
 
6
Corners3
 
4
Offsides1
 
7
Fouls committed18
 
15
Yellow cards0
 
0
Red cards0
 
0

Standings

Last updated: 03/10/2013 16:21 CET

Legend:

P: Played   
Pts: Points   
 
Published: Tuesday 16 September 2003, 23.49CET

Late Gallas goal saves Chelsea

AC Sparta Praha 0-1 Chelsea FC William Gallas scores an 85th-minute winner to give the visitors victory.

Chelsea FC needed a late goal from defender William Gallas to get their return to UEFA Champions League action off to a winning start as they extended AC Sparta Praha's winless run to five games.

Gallas poked home
Despite starting the game with seven of his big-name summer signings, Chelsea manager Claudio Ranieri was indebted to a player who served him well last season. The France defender, recalled after missing Saturday's league win against Tottenham Hotspur FC, poked home from close range after substitute Damien Duff's cross was flicked on by another replacement, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, after 85 minutes.

Squad strength
The strength of Chelsea's squad was the difference between the sides. They had six full internationals on their substitutes' bench and all three replacements had a major impact on the game when they came on. England international Frank Lampard replaced Emmanuel Petit in central midfield at half-time and his sharp tackling and intelligent passing gave the visitors more bite.

Chances for Crespo
Chelsea forward Hernán Crespo, playing as a lone striker after the half-time withdrawal through injury of Adrian Mutu, could have broken the deadlock before Gallas scored. Crespo missed five chances on his debut, three of which were one-on-ones against solid Sparta goalkeeper Jaromír Blazek. The last of the efforts sailed over Blazek's head but did not have the strength to reach the goalline.

Fierce tackling
Chelsea did not have things their own way in the first period, despite seeing Mutu and Crespo squander early half-chances. That fine start proved a false dawn as Sparta's non-stop harrying and fierce tackling kept the visitors on the back foot whenever they were in possession.

Poborský dominant
Sparta did not look like a side languishing in seventh place in their domestic league and without a win in their last four games. Their key player was captain Karel Poborský, whose passing was a constant threat to the visitors: less than a week ago, he had lit up the Letná stadium with a match-winning performance against the Netherlands to seal the Czech Republic's place in the UEFA EURO 2004™ finals. The former Manchester United FC winger regularly picked up the runs of the willing Tomáŝ Jun and the impressive Radoslav Kovác. But his return was to end in disappointment.

Cudicini heroics
It was Kovác who came closest to breaking the deadlock just before the half-time whistle. Poborský's deep cross evaded Glen Johnson at the back post and the midfield player's header was pushed round the post by Carlo Cudicini, who was at full stretch. Before then, Igor Glušcevic and Kovác again missed the target when in good positions on the edge of the area.

Ranieri delight
It was a warning sign that was heeded by Chelsea, and when Ranieri rang the changes at half-time and introduced Duff, Lampard, and then Hasselbaink, he was rewarded just in time.

Last updated: 17/09/03 10.15CET

http://www.uefa.com/uefachampionsleague/season=2003/matches/round=1712/match=1056809/postmatch/report/index.html#late+gallas+goal+saves+chelsea

Lineups

sparta praha

Sparta Praha

chelsea

Chelsea

29
BlažekJaromír Blažek (GK)
23
CudiciniCarlo Cudicini (GK)
3
LabantVladimír Labant
Substitution87
2
G. JohnsonGlen Johnson
8
PoborskýKarel Poborský (C)
4
MakeleleClaude Makelele
10
MichalíkRastislav Michalík
Substitution56
6
DesaillyMarcel Desailly (C)
15
KováčRadoslav Kováč
7
MutuAdrian Mutu
Substitution46
16
HübschmanTomáš Hübschman
13
GallasWilliam Gallas
Goal85
17
JohanaPetr Johana
14
GeremiGeremi
19
M. PetrášMartin Petráš
Substitution46
17
PetitEmmanuel Petit
Substitution46
20
NěmecJiří Němec
18
BridgeWayne Bridge
21
JunTomáš Jun
20
VerónJuan Verón
27
Igor GlušcevicIgor Glušcevic
21
CrespoHernán Crespo
Substitution72

Substitutes

1
KoubaPetr Kouba (GK)
31
AmbrosioMarco Ambrosio (GK)
7
ZelenkaLukáš Zelenka
8
LampardFrank Lampard
Substitution46
9
KinclMarek Kincl
9
HasselbainkJimmy Floyd Hasselbaink
Substitution72
11
JežekPatrik Ježek
Substitution87
10
J. ColeJoe Cole
14
SionkoLibor Sionko
Substitution46
11
DuffDamien Duff
Substitution46
22
HomolaJiří Homola
22
GudjohnsenEidur Gudjohnsen
26
ZbončákMartin Zbončák
Substitution56
26
TerryJohn Terry

Coach

Jirí Kotrba (CZE) Claudio Ranieri (ITA)

Referee

Helmut Fleischer (GER)

Assistant referees

Harry Ehing (GER), Peter Henes (GER)

Fourth official

Lutz Wagner (GER)

Legend:

  • GoalsGoals
  • Own goalOwn goal
  • PenaltiesPenalties
  • Missed PenaltiesMissed Penalties
  • reds_cardRed Cards
  • yellow_cardsYellow cards
  • yellow_red_cardsYellow/red card
  • SubstitutionSubstitution
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